Trial run to dart tusker Arikompan to be held at Chinnakkanal on Thursday
March 20, 2023
The Forest department will conduct a trial run of the darting of a wild
tusker, locally known as Arikompan, at Chinnakkanal, near Munnar, in
Idukki. Department officials said the operation will be held on Thursday.
A senior department official said it has been decided to tranquillise the
tusker on Saturday. “If the operation fails on Saturday, another one will
be conducted on Sunday. If the tusker cannot be relocated, it will be
radio-collared. A high-level meeting will be held at Munnar on Tuesday to
form a final plan for the darting operation, said the official. Idukki
District Collector Sheeba George and other higher officials will attend the
Meanwhile, Vikram, one of the four kumki elephants selected for the
operation to dart Arikompan, reached Cement Palam, near Chinnakkanal, on
Monday morning from the Muthanga elephant camp. “The other three kumki
elephants – Surya, Kunju, and Surendran – will reach Chinnakkanal in two
days,” said the official.
Meanwhile, Arikompan was found to be camping at Sankarapandi Mettu near
Santhanpara. “For the darting operation, the tusker needs to reach Cement
Palam from Sankarapandi Mettu, crossing the Kochi-Dhanushkodi national
highway and the Anayirankal dam. The tusker has a habit of swimming across
the dam and reaching Cement Palam near 301 Colony. We hope it reaches the
planned location soon,” said an official.
The Forest department has set up a makeshift ration shop at Cement Palam to
lure the tusker.
Chief Wildlife Warden Ganga Singh issued an order on February 21 for
tranquillising Arikompan at Chinnakkanal. The order said the elephant could
be captured and radio-collared or relocated. The initial plan was to
release the tusker in the deep forests of the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR)